Zusha! is a Swahili word that means ‘speak up’. It is a road safety intervention aimed at improving the behavior of passenger-carrying vehicle (PCV) drivers in three Sub-saharan African countries. The program, funded by external donor support, has been experimentally tested by researchers from Georgetown University and showed a reduction in PCV accidents by between 25 and 50 percent.
Nairobi, May 8, 2015 – gui²de Launches Zusha! Road Safety Campaign Nationwide in Kenya.
The Zusha! Road Safety Campaign officially launched nationwide in Kenya last Friday. The occasion brought together members of the Kenyan government, PSVowners, insurance companies, and stakeholders from across East Africa. The Georgetown University Initiative on Innovation, Development, and Evaluation (gui2de) organized the launch in partnership with Kenya’s National Transportation and Safety Authority (NTSA) and National Road Safety Trust (NRST).
In sub-Saharan Africa, road deaths are the leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 29 and the second leading cause of death for people ages 5 to 14. Many of these deaths occur in minibusses or “matatus”, the primary mode of transportation in the region. Often, accidents occur because of reckless driving such as speeding and dangerous overlapping. Solutions to this road safety problem, like speed governors, complaint hotlines, or increased traffic enforcement, however, can be extremely expensive. Such efforts also do not provide the passenger with the power to ensure their own safety at the moment of dangerous driving.
Zusha! is a cost-effective intervention that places stickers inside matatus and buses with motivational messages that encourage passengers to Zusha! – to protest or speak up (in Kiswahili) – directly to their driver against bad driving. As part of the nationwide campaign, Zusha! stickers will be placed inside every PSV in Kenya. The launch also kicks off a complementary media campaign that will include radio advertisements, billboards, and social media.
This scaleup of Zusha! follows two highly successful research trials conducted by Professors William Jack and James Habyarimana of Georgetown University in Washington, DC. Between 2007 and 2013, results from two randomized control trials proved that the PSVs in which Zusha! stickers were placed had between 25-50% fewer insurance accident claims, translating into 140 avoided accidents 55 lives annually.
This astounding success helped Jack and Habyarimana secure a grant from USAID to scale up their intervention nationwide in Kenya, and initiate research trials in Tanzania, Rwanda, and Uganda.
The launch on Friday featured the premiere of the Zusha! video (link) and included speeches from representatives of the National Transportation and Safety Authority, the National Road Safety Trust, and Directline Assurance. A panel that fielded questions from the audience included Professor Jack, the Director-General of the NTSA, the Chairman of the NRST, and the Chairman of the Matatu Owners’ Association. Also in attendance were invited road safety and PSV industry stakeholders from Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania, who participated in a workshop hosted by gui2de the following day to discuss implementing Zusha! pilot programs in their respective countries.
Georgetown University Initiative on Innovation, Development and Evaluation
Department of Economics and the McCourt School of Public Policy
306 Reiss Building • Washington, DC 20057